But this year, the movie menu is pretty sparse. The North American box office has few new movies this weekend that are likely to attract tons of moviegoers.
The slate is a far cry from the Thanksgiving weekends of yore. Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest times of year for movie theaters, as in many ways it kicks off the profitable holiday box office season – similar to how the weekend Memorial Day weekend ushers in summer. For example, movies like “Creed,” “Moana,” and “Knives Out” opened Thanksgiving weekend and did well.
So what happened to Thanksgiving this year? Again, blame Covid.
A “prime time” for the cinema industry
The dearth of big new releases helps explain why the domestic box office is down 32% so far this year compared to 2019 before the pandemic. The number of releases on 2,000 screens or more is down 36%.
Holidays like Thanksgiving are important to theaters because “they act as a calendar-based touchstone,” which audiences have come to associate as a “kind of prime time,” Dergarabedian added.
“That’s when the biggest and brightest movies come out, and Thanksgiving is definitely one of those times that has developed that kind of identity over the years,” said- he declared. “It would be a shame for Thanksgiving to end as another marginalized holiday period, like Labor Day weekend.”
As for Thanksgiving, Dergarabedian hopes that as the theater industry normalizes, the holidays will make a comeback.
“This is likely a temporary change and the result of difficult market dynamics over the past two and a half years,” he said. “Thanksgiving will once again become one of the most important movie weeks of the year.”